This was wife and my second cruise and longest cruise. We came with the idea we would not take explorations, but would spend our time getting to know the port towns we visited.The msAmderstam from Holland America was a perfect ship for this cruise. Not too big or too small. At 1300-1400 guests, a comfortable size for our first long cruise. We departed and returned to Seattle with stops in Ketchikan, Juneau, Icy Strait, Tracy Arm glacier, Anchorage, Homer, Kodiak Island and Victoria before returning to Seattle.
Here's what we liked: food and especially the Canaletto (Italian) evening dinners. The La Fontaine also was nice (we went whenever we were ready). The Ledo buffet was convenient but not up to the quality of the others. The deserts were OK, nothing to write home about (that didn't stop us from eating them though). The ship board entertainment in the lounges was excellent. We saw several excellent movies. The stage shows were entertaining. We especially enjoyed the Karaoke nights and the Talent show (Bob is a singer and participated in both). Cabin service was excellent and overall general friendliness of staff was excellent. We really enjoyed Park West art auctions-we did by several art pieces. We were initially worried about bed/pillow comfort but both were excellent. The cabin was nicely outfitted and dark with plenty of storage space. Only one outlet but power strips were available. Self-service laundry on each level provided detergent as part of fee, no need to have brought our own soap. Enjoyed meeting other CruiseCritic sailors during Roll Call-than you Karen. Nice gym.
Enjoyed Juneau as we had friends in port who could give us the Juneau points of interest tour. Kodiak Island very interesting due to Russian Orthodox church and chapel conversations with seminary student. Anchorage is a beautiful city. Was able to find free Internet in each port as well as Sprint cell service. At Homer, we got off and then immediately back on the ship as the weather was horrible and town not much to see.
Here's what could have been improved: the weather was ghastly (except Anchorage and Victoria (think rain and cold-we realize that is out of the control of Holland America). Regarding ports, both Icy Strait and Homer was a waste of time, would have like more time in Anchorage or cruising Glacier bay. A 15% service charge was added to beverage services even if you bought an empty coffee logo mug, and in addition to the daily suggested gratuity automatically added to the bill. Internet service on board was expensive and I heard complaints about slowness of speed and connectivity.
We're glad we did Alaska as this was really an experiment on our part to see if we like cruising. WE DO and enjoy Holland America and look forward to future cruises with them.